By Frank Amponsah
The Committee of Eminent Chiefs set up to find customary and traditional means of bringing eternal peace to Dagbon, has presented a Road Map for ensuring lasting peace to the President of Ghana, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
Top of the peace process is the installation of a new Ya-Na for the people of Dagbon.
The Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, who announced the roadmap for peace in Dagbon indicated that the whole peace process would have to begin with the organization of two important funerals which have been the bone of contention between the Abudus and the Andanis over the past 16 years.
According to him, the Abudus will organize the first funeral for the late Ya-Na Mahamudu Abdulai beginning December 14 to 28, after which they will observe a one-week period to make way for the Andanis to also organize same for the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani beginning January 18, 2019.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II explained that the recommendation to allow the Abudus to perform the funeral rites of the late Ya-Na Mahamudu Abdulai as a late King of Dagbon, was in consideration of a Supreme Court ruling which recognized his position as such.
He also averred that, the Committee arrived at the decision to allow the Andanis to also perform the funeral rites for the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani, also as a late King od Dagbon because of the fact that he was serving in that capacity before his demise and should be given that recognition.
The Committee also pointed out that after the organization of these two funerals the parties involved, will each present three persons who will meet, select and install a new Ya-Na for the people of Dagbon.
“After these burial ceremonies, a Council of elders comprising three representatives each from the Andani and Abudu families shall be constituted immediately to act in concept with the Kuga Naa and the Regent to handle all traditional arrangements from the burials of Ya-Na Mahamadu Abdulai and Ya-Na Andani to the installation of a new Ya-Na.”
He told the President that after the unfortunate incidence in Dagbon some 16 years ago, which brought serious security problems to the country, the then President John Agyekum Kufuor tasked the Committee with the duty to find traditional and customary way of bring Dagbon to normalcy.
He said, they have arrived at the Road Map taking cognizance of the Supreme Court ruling on the matter.
He however stated that the “Installation of Ya-Na Andani Yakubu takes precedence over Ya-Na Mahamadu Abdulai since he died in office, and Dagbon customs did not contemplate a situation where there will be two siting Regents at the same time.”
The Road Map also stated that since the Kuga Naa is the Elder of the families, elders of both the Abudus, and the Andanis would have to inform him to initiate the burial ceremonies of the late Kings.
The Asantehene also gave a little historical background to the impasse and mentioned that the tension between the two factions after a March 27, 2002 clashes led to the murder of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani and some of his elders, triggering in part by a disagreement over who was the rightful heir to the throne.
He said, the then NPP government under ex-president John Kufuor constituted the Wuako Commission to investigate the circumstances that led to the clashes and the casualties.
The Commission after its sitting made some recommendations including the arrest of some people and advised government to take steps to find lasting peace between the people of Dagbon.
In line with the recommendation by the Wuako Commission the then president Kufuor also instituted the Committee of Eminent chiefs to mediate between the two feuding factions and to provide a roadmap for peace.
“The major point of disagreement has been who and when to organize the funerals of the late Ya-Nas belonging to both factions,” he said.
He also explained that the factions, have at different times, threatened to opt out of the mediation process involving the panel of eminent chiefs, hence taking the Committee more than 10 years to conduct its peace process, hence the report.
He however stated that their job is not done until a new Ya-Na is enskinned, expressing the hope that the road map drawn will lead to the lasting peace everybody has been working towards.
He said President Akufo-Addo is the luckiest president to be receiving the report of the committee which sat through three different administrations beginning with ex-president Kufuor, Ex-president John Mills and Ex-president John Mahama.
He said “Dagbon Is At Peace.”
Receiving the report, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo said: “This will be one of the most memorable days of my presidency,” adding that the wisdom of ex-president John Kufuor in setting up the committee has been “vindicated.”
According to him, although the conflict dragged on for over 16 years, he never once entertained skepticism even though many had given up hope.
He said: “I have an unshakeable belief in Ghanaians to resolve their grievances,” adding that the roadmap is great and will bring peace.
“To the three eminent chiefs who have worked for so long, I commend your tenacity. Even when times the situation was hopeless you were still committed to the seemingly intractable conflict,” he added.
The president however, made a passionate appeal to the people of Dagbon to give peace and development a chance, because the youth are tired of the age-long conflict.
He averred that the people of Dagbon have the best opportunity to mend fences and accommodate one another even if they disagree, adding “I am not a Dagomba and can neither be an Abudu nor Andani. All I want to see is peace.”
He thanked the Committee for a good job done and urged all to support both families to perform their respective funeral rites.